Sarah Grace goes to sea
Chris Yerbury and Sophy White
Thu 1 Mar 2007 03:18
Cooba: 28th February, 2007 Mercoles.
We are safely berthed in a good marina, with free showers and free water and no water,(or showers).  Also free power and no power.  This is Cuba.  Great folk living on their wits, working a double currency system.  The monthly wage here is about ten pounds.  The streets are filled with skeletal horses trotting up and down pulling public buses.   Folk seem very fit and well, with free medical care, a low fat food ration system, and no petrol, so lots of walking and cycling.  The literacy rate here is above that of the UK, as is the life expectancy.  It is very very different from the rest of the Caribbean,  a weird combination of being much more sophisticated, but much more basic. 
Life has looked up since we discovered a vegetable market.  We ate all of our fresh food before we arrived as we understood that it would otherwise be confiscated.   We were in error: I had left a few sacrificial bags of onions and cabbages around to satisfy the customs, none of which were taken.  All of our lovely Venezuelan cheeses survived.  The sniffer dog  was called Brrando, and he was charming, as were the eight officials, arriving in waves of around two or three, who rummaged around the boat.  The final official was mystified by a gameboy DS,  as it was obviously not a phone or a calculator, and was taught by Ottilie to play zookeeper, and was entranced by the touch screen.  We had heard horror stories about checking into Cuba, which were unfounded, as it in fact took very little time with all the officials coming to us, instead of trecking around some distant town getting stamps on documents, (Curacao)...  They even filled all the forms themselves, (we are now Ukranian, having put UK as place of origin..)
We are catching up on schoolwork, which has suffered with our punishing sailing itinerary of late, and are planning a trip to Havana, which is a five hour bus ride away.
I am extremely glad of all the stores we have salted away around the Sarah Grace, and there is really very little to buy here, unless you try the expensive tourist currency shops.  Now is the time to crack open the saffron, olives, and little luxuries that we have been saving.